For at least one week, the New York Jets hold a trump card on their fellow MetLife Stadium tenants, the Giants.
Gang Green’s multifaceted 20-6 victory last Sunday over the visiting Miami Dolphins gave them their first win, while Big Blue remains winless. Few would have expected that scenario as October begins.
But the Jets (1-2) aren’t playing the Giants this week; they’ll be hosting the 2-1 Jacksonville Jaguars, fresh off a 44-7 drubbing of the Baltimore Ravens in London. If anyone thought the Jags would be low hanging fruit because of struggles in recent years, Sunday’s win flies in the face of that notion.
Regardless, the Jets should feel like they have a chance to reach .500. Here are three keys to getting there.
Nobody is expecting Josh McCown to morph into Aaron Rodgers. Most would be perfectly happy if he simply manages the game without making costly mistakes.
In guiding the Jets to 20 points each of the last two games, the quarterback has put them in position to win with a cumulative 72.3 completion percentage, three touchdown passes and no interceptions. This will be a challenge against a Jacksonville defense that’s allowing the third-lowest completion percentage in the NFL (53.3 percent) and has picked off four passes thus far.
To expect these Jets to be offensive juggernauts wouldn’t be fair. But with two solid running backs in Bilal Powell and Matt Forte, they should be capable of gaining more than 3.6 yards per carry as a team.
If Gang Green is going to have a great day on the ground this season, the Jags are the right opponent to make it happen. They’ve surrendered 4.8 yards per carry, a figure bad enough for 30th in the NFL.
Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles had a monster four-TD, no INT day in England. That’s rare in the four-year career of the former first-round pick, who had 51 interceptions in his first 46 games.
Much of Bortles’ past struggles have come while absorbing punishment from a porous offensive line — he has twice led the league in sacks taken. He’s only been sacked twice this year, so the Jets’ front seven must apply more pressure and force him to make mistakes, and coach Todd Bowles should feel free to dial up blitzes from the secondary that worked well against Miami.